Perhaps it was just a stunt to drive traffic (It's working!), but I enjoyed Valleywag's collection of the "10 most terrible tyrants of tech." It's perhaps telling that some of the industry's top companies (Microsoft, Apple, Salesforce.com) are headed by some of the most difficult people with whom to work:Here's to the screaming ones. The chair-throwers. The death-threat makers. The imperious gazers. The ones who see things differently -- and will stare you down until you do, too....[T]hey have no respect for conversational decibel levels. You can cower before … Read more
On this week's EIC Squared podcast, ZDNet Editor in Chief Larry Dignan and I discuss the news of the week. It was a big week for Microsoft, with several announcements and teases from its meeting in Seattle with financial analysts. Steve Ballmer is still bullish on the online space, but not on Yahoo. We also talk about Kevin Johnson's departure from Microsoft. (See coverage on the Microsoft financial analyst meeting from Ina Fried and Mary Jo Foley.)
REDMOND, Wash.--Microsoft went into more detail Thursday about its online spending plans, but offered few new details on just how it plans to catch Google.
In his remarks to financial analysts, CEO Steve Ballmer acknowledged that, in the search business, the company faces the challenge of needing to boost the number of search queries, attract revenue per share and boost revenue. While Yahoo would have offered a clear way around that Catch-22 by boosting Microsoft's advertiser base and query volume, Ballmer insisted he had other ideas besides a deal with the Silicon Vallery Internet company,
"There are … Read more
A new survey by KACE, a systems management appliance company, suggests that 60 percent of those surveyed have no plans to deploy Microsoft Windows Vista, a 10 percent rise over a similar survey administered by KACE in November 2007. A full 42 percent of these are actively exploring Vista alternatives, with 11 percent having made the leap to alternative platforms like Mac OS X or Linux.
How does Microsoft hope to compete? By copying Apple, the company that is kicking its tail in terms of growth. It worked once before....
In an email sent by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to Microsoft employees, Ballmer argued that "the success of Windows is our number one job," while acknowledging that to compete with little Apple that it outsells "30-to-1" it will change the way it works with hardware companies to try to catch up. … Read more
Updated 10 a.m. PDT, with more details on spending plans
REDMOND, Wash.--In trying to explain Microsoft's continued decision to spend in its money-losing online services business, CEO Steve Ballmer likened it to a game of high-stakes poker.
"We are going to have to ante up in a significant way to even be in this game," he said.
But, he said, as both advertising and content move online, the opportunity is huge.
"There's at least a trillion dollars just in media, communications, and advertising, not all of which we can capture," Ballmer said. … Read more
Every kid knows the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel, but I bet you've never heard the story of Jerry and Sue, right? Well, read on.
Not so long ago, in merry old Silicon Valley, lived a family named Yahoo. When hard times and famine hit, the father - an old advertising executive named Bostock - led two of his children - Jerry and Sue - into the forest.
Why did Bostock do that to his kids? Some say he did it so he'd have fewer mouths to feed, but nobody knows his motives for sure.
Lost in the forest, Jerry and Sue finally came upon a huge house made of gingerbread. The house was called Microsoft, and inside lived a witch named Ballmer. Some say the witch was evil, but he was more likely just desperate to reinvigorate his ancient, slumbering home with some youth.… Read more
In a clear sign that Steve Ballmer has lost touch with reality, at a recent partner event Q&A the Microsoft CEO addressed the issue of "coolness" and how Microsoft competes in coolness.
On one hand, Ballmer recognizes that Microsoft is not cool and that the enterprise buyer wants safety, not necessarily coolness. But on the other hand his comments reveal an earnest desire to be cool...yet he clearly doesn't recognize what will get his company there.
The way we [will] be newsworthy, if we're successful, in and out, every day, all the time for the next 10, 20, 30 years, we're not going to make it on, hey they're brand new, we've never seen them before. We're going to have to surprise people. And I think we will. I think we'll surprise people with the quality of new PCs people see, where we've worked really hard with Vista, and people say, wow, these things are actually lighter, they actually have better battery life, they're cheaper, they're more affordable, they're more flexible, they come in more sizes, wow, that's cool.… Read more
Gerri Yang had known Stephen Ballmer for a long time.
They used to go to the same parties. They would watch the same, lesser people smoke substances on terraces facing the golden sunset.
But neither of them ever thought they would end up together.
Gerri thought she would marry someone younger, someone with the body of a builder and the mind of an astrophysicist.
The reverse had never crossed her mind.
Now, here she was, in her later years, knowing in her heart that Mr. Right had passed her by and all that was left was a selection of Mr. … Read more
On June 27, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said he didn't think that his company and Yahoo would make a deal, adding that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will find "plenty of other opportunities.
Not so fast. As Yahoo's quarterly earnings come up on July 22 (see Kara Swisher's take on the upcoming financial results) and the shareholder meeting on August 1, Carl Icahn and Steve Ballmer are teaming up to remake Yahoo's board of directors and shelve Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang. In a letter to Yahoo shareholders, Icahn said:Steve (Ballmer) made it clear to me … Read more
The Economist's Ludwig Siegele opens up one of the most important questions for the next 10 years of software: What happens to Microsoft after Bill Gates leaves?
In Ray Ozzie's (and, perhaps, Microsoft's) view, Microsoft's new goal is the same as the old goal: dominate everything. But the battle has shifted to the "cloud" now. Complicating the matter further, Microsoft no longer has a technical leader, one who combines vision, tenacity, and introspection. Instead it has an aggressive, sometimes bumbling bloodhound of a CEO, Steve Ballmer.
Can Mr. Protect-My-Desktop-Monopoly-By-Whatever-Means-Necessary really push Microsoft to the future? Can Ballmer deliver on this goal? According to Siegele, Microsoft's goal:
...is to become the dominant force in the forthcoming era of cloud computing--or, to refresh Microsoft's original mission: "to supply services to every desk, to every home and to every hand."
To understand what that means, and the difficulties it poses Microsoft, start with the idea that computing is undergoing one of its great periodic shifts....Now communications is catching up with hardware and software and, thanks to cheap broadband and wireless access, the industry is witnessing a pull back to the middle. This is leading much computing to migrate back into huge data centers. Networks of these computing plants form "computing clouds"--vast, amorphous, delocalized nebulae of processing power and storage.
This is a huge opportunity for Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Amazon, and others. But only Microsoft brings a massive ball-and-chain to the party called the Windows desktop business, which accounts for the vast majority of its revenue and pervades its company culture. The very thing that makes Microsoft so successful may well ensure that it will play a bit part in the future of computing.… Read more